The most successful Super Bowl ads, by the numbers

Amazon, Pepsi and Toyota all scored big wins, and Dodge clinched a dubious honor.

The most successful Super Bowl ads, by the numbers

As the turf settles on Super Bowl LII and fans march home in either victory or defeat, a different postgame is playing out across the internet: declaring a winning ad. With a $5 million price tag for a 30-second spot, brands had much to lose with a weak or negatively-received campaign, and research firms across a variety of disciplines jumped instantly into trying to pick a victor using different metrics.

If the media coverage is anything to be believed, Amazon’s "Alexa Lost Her Voice" spot—in which four celebrities step in to speak from Echos across the world—won the day. USA Today’s Ad Meter agreed, placing it first on their brief but influential rankings. It was the first time the ever-growing behemoth topped the list, after just two previous Big Game entries. Responses to a survey by Audience Project, a digital and e-commerce insights company, placed the spot in fourth for most entertaining. The ad earned a middling 77 from System1, which tracks emotional response metrics, placing fifteenth overall in their rankings. But it topped the shopping category in Twitter’s inaugural #BrandBowl, which recognized companies whose ads generated a high volume of tweets. 

A double-punch for PepsiCo highlighting both Doritos and Mountain Dew—the first-ever Super Bowl to feature two brands simultaneously—cleaned up across a number of surveys, too. The spot, a lip-synced rap battle between Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, won Twitter’s #Blitz award for the most tweets per minute about an ad. Audience Project’s respondents ranked it the most memorable spot and the second-most-entertaining one. It also came in fourth on the Ad Meter, although System1 put it at #19. 

Viewers rewarded Toyota for "Good Odds," another first: a Super Bowl ad for a car company that didn’t feature any cars. The Ad Meter ranked it fifth, a big win for a spot angling to help reposition the brand from being a motor company to a mobility company. With a heartwarming message focused on paralympic champion skier Lauren Woolstencroft, it landed fifth on System1’s list. Although it didn’t place on the #BrandBowl, that was probably because of Dodge—more on that in a moment.

Coming off the health disaster of the dangerous Tide Pods meme, Tide at least temporarily redirected brand conversation with a series of well-received spot parodying other categories’ Super Bowl tropes. With the help of David Harbour of "Stranger Things," the detergent brand placed third in both of Audience Project’s metrics and scored the top spot for CPGs in the BrandBowl. Although it didn’t make the top 5 on the Ad Meter, it’s generated significant earned media (and a nice shout-out to Saatchi & Saatchi from Harbour).

 

There are some metrics that no brand wants to top, though, and this year’s biggest misstep was by Dodge. Their Ram spot featured a clip from one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speeches, a move that generated so much backlash it made Dodge the most-tweeted-about automotive brand of the game—winning them #BrandBowl recognition for their category, but for entirely the wrong reason. SproutSocial found that 81 percent of over 48,000 tweets about the spot were negative; even worse for the brand, a Digimind survey revealed that 82 percent of men who reacted negatively were in the 18-25 range, Dodge’s target market. 

Special recognition in the #BrandBowl went to Ally for their #AllyBigSave campaign, which earned them the #Interception prize—awarded to the most-tweeted brand without a Super Bowl spot. For the online bank, augmented reality, not a pricey shoot, won t

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